Flight Risk

Brushing the hair off someone’s face then stroking the stray strands behind their ears is, for me, one of the most comforting gestures in the world. It was always my favorite thing to do when she tells me, “If you leave me, I would understand.” It was my way of easing her mind without promising anything I can’t fulfill.

I have been in this moment countless times. I have it on repeat in my mind. Sometimes the statement is not a statement but a question that changes from “why do you love me” to “until when.” Sometimes I hear a man’s voice, these days I just focus on hers. Every time, I am back, in that same moment greeting the silence and standing in the precipice of a cliff where I let her go.

I have been on the edge of this cliff and have pushed many off it, but not without letting them hang on for a while. This is the edge where need and malice resides, taunting me to keep holding on.

Until when? 

***

For one and a half hours, they grilled me. They asked questions about my expertise, limited to be honest. They got me guessing about their process just to check if I can catch up, petty to be honest. They were thorough, though, that’s for sure. Toward the end, the lady said that she was wondering about something: “We are going to spend a lot to get you settled here. We saw getting your degree is one reason you left. What assures us that you are not a flight risk?”

Silence.

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